Mexican cardinals and bishops convicted for denouncing pro-abortion, socialist government

Among the convicted were the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City, Carlos Aguiar Retes, and the former archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez.

Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico City is pictured in a video for an ad campaign promoting COVID-19 vaccines throughout the Americas. (CNS Screenshot/courtesy Ad Council)

Two Mexican cardinals, a bishop, and three priests have been convicted of constitutional violations for warning the public against the ruling party’s opposition to the values of human life and family, their advocacy of the LGBT agenda, and their promotion of socialism.

The convictions have caused alarm in Mexico regarding their implications for freedom of speech and the right to criticize the socialist ruling party “Morena,” which is accused of undermining Mexican civil liberties.

Among the convicted were the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City, Carlos Aguiar Retes, and the former archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez. The decision was handed down on November 18 by Mexico’s national Electoral Tribunal in response to a lawsuit filed by Mexico’s ruling socialist party, the Movement for Social Regeneration (MORENA).

One of the tribunal judges, Villafuerte Coello, denounced the accused clerics for encouraging Catholics “to pray and ask God to illuminate them when they vote,” in a video transmission of her statements during the proceedings.

“Of course that mustn’t be permitted,” said Cuello. “Votes aren’t celestial or spiritual things. This is about deciding votes with knowledge, with information, apart from pondering other things and this is just what must be respected, because celestial inspiration is not going to cause the best people to be in popularly elected positions. It’s logical.”

“Those who issued the messages are people who are expressly prohibited from doing so by the constitution, given their status as ministers of religious worship,” stated the tribunal in its written decision. “Therefore, because they have relevant influence over those who profess the Catholic faith, they were impeded from stating their position with respect to the elections, as well as from inciting people to vote in favor or against a political organization or candidate involved in the election.”

Unconstitutional” criticism

The primary target of the tribunal’s wrath was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, who was convicted both of interfering in a national election as well as violating the constitution’s separation of Church and state.

According to the court, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez offended the constitution by stating, in a YouTube video of June 2 of this year, “There is much at stake in these elections. If those who are in power win, a dictatorship will come, that is, liberty will be lost, because we’re talking about a system that is communist, socialist, that enslaves. You just need to look at the countries that have fallen into it.” He also warned that the economy of Mexico would be “very damaged . . . we’re going to be very poor like Venezuela, like Cuba.”

Sandoval also expressed his concern that “the good of the family and of [human] life are at stake, because this government has adopted gender ideology, which brings with it all of the unnatural barbarities that they can unleash, which can impede and destroy the family,” as well as bringing about “abortion, express divorce, homosexuality, and homosexual marriage.” Also at stake was “religious liberty,” said the cardinal, because “the communist-Marxist system asks for it, demands it.”

To avoid these outcomes, Sandoval encouraged the “majority in Mexico that believes in God and in his providence, to pray much for Him to enlighten and help us,” to ask Our Lady of Guadalupe for her aid, and to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He also encouraged Mexicans to “do their civic duty” and vote, and not “leave the field free to evildoers.”

Sandoval has refused to apologize for his statements and doubled down in early October, repeating his call not to vote for pro-abortion politicians.

Although Cardinal Aguiar Retes told the court that he did not intend to specify any political party, and noted that he had not made any statement about the elections in 2021, he was was convicted for statements he made in a public video message in 2018, which was re-published on Twitter in 2021.

“Today I want to give you a very clear message, to continue inviting the Catholic faithful to express our will by voting,” said Aguiar Retes several months prior to the elections that year. “Second, to vote in a rational way, investigating which candidate can govern us better, particularly which candidate can guarantee to us that the fundamental values of our faith, like the right to life, the right to a stable family, the right to education, the right to religious liberty, can be made a reality . . . Third, that we make our vote a completely free one, that we don’t allow ourselves to be influenced by polls.”

Among the convicted were also the Bishop of Cancún-Chetumal, Pedro Pablo Elizondo Cárdenas, and two priests: Fr. Ángel Espinosa de los Monteros Gómez Haro and Fr. Mario Ángel Flores Ramos. The latter is the former rector of the Pontifical University of Mexico.

Elizono Cárdenas named no party in his statements, only noting that “the Catholic Church has always condemned communism, because it is an atheist system, because it is a system that represses fundamental liberties,” and encouraged people to consider the effects of their votes on issues such as abortion, family values, and religious liberty.

Fr. Flores Ramos gave a long list of complaints about the existing government but without naming names nor political parties. Fr. Gómez Haro encouraged listeners to “ask God for the light to vote in a responsible way,” and asserted that “we never had such a bad government – not one vote, not one vote for irresponsible people, for the culture of death and division.”

Their case has now been passed to the country’s Secretariat of Governance to determine the penalty that will be applied. The Secretariat has the discretion to apply merely a warning or a fine up to the equivalent of 150,000 USD.

Mexico’s constitution has had expressly anti-clerical provisions since 1917, when revolutionaries under US-backed leader Venustiano Carranza sought to consolidate the country’s secularist and anti-Catholic regime with a new charter document. The 1917 constitution prohibited the clergy from wearing their garb in public, voting in elections, intervening in politics, and teaching pre-adolescent children.

Although various restrictions on the activities of religious ministers were relaxed in the early 1990s, the constitution continues to prohibit them from holding public office and from participation in politics. Religions can only erect churches after being registered with the federal government.

“Ministers cannot associate for political purposes nor proselytize in favor or against any candidate, party, or political association,” states article 130 of the constitution. “Neither can they oppose the laws of the country or its institutions, in acts of worship or of religious propaganda, nor in publications of a religious nature, nor offend national symbols in any way.”

Previous attempts to penalize Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez for expressing his political opinions have failed on at least two occasions in the last decade.

When the nation’s Supreme Court voted to uphold Mexico City’s pro-abortion legislation, the cardinal implied that the city’s Chief of Government, Marcel Ebrard, had in some way influenced the court, and Ebrard filed suit against him for defamation. After Sandoval promised to produce his proof in court, Ebrard quietly dropped the suit in 2014. An investigation was also initiated by Mexico’s Secretariat of Governance into possible violations of the constitution and federal law, but it was later closed with no charges filed.

In 2015 homosexual activists filed lawsuits against Sandoval Íñiguez for denouncing the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down state laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Sandoval called the decision a “perversion” of marriage and decried the lack of opposition from other Mexican bishops. However, it appears the suit was quietly dropped.

The Morena regime is taking a stricter interpretation of the law and is now openly seeking to penalize the country’s Catholic clergy for objecting to anti-life and anti-family policies.

Alarm from both secular and religious organizations

The decision to convict the clerics by the tribunal has been met with alarm not only by Catholic prelates but also by civil organizations and the media, which have expressed concern that the federal government is overstretching its authority and prohibiting the free expression of ideas.

The government has issued two statements in recent months warning members of the clergy not to involve themselves in politics, and threatening to fine and even shut down the churches of those who do so.

On June 3 of this year, the Secretariat of Governance tweeted, “In this first call, Governance reminds the Churches that the Mexican constitution and the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship concretely prohibits intervention in electoral processes.”

The Secretariat reportedly threatened to apply various penalties, including massive fines, “temporary or permanent closure” of churches, and even the “cancellation of the registry” of the religious association in question.

The organization “Republican Mexico” (“Mexico Republicano”) which supports limited government and opposes ideological extremism, has written an open letter to the Secretariat of Governance expressing its concern regarding the condemnation of Catholic clergy for speaking out on political issues, noting that they did not name any political parties.

“Republican Mexico regards is concerned by the sentence issued by the . . . Electoral Tribunal . . . in verdict SRE-PSC-0188-2021, through which it determined that various prelates of the Catholic Church violated the principle of separation of Church and State, for the mere reason that they freely expressed their ideas regarding certain topics,” stated the organization in its letter.

The issued discussed by the clergymen, “although they may also have been addressed by some political party in its electoral platform or campaign proposals, cannot be considered topics that are exclusive to the electoral races, but are topics of national discussion at every social, academic, and political level, and even within the religious sphere,” they added, asking that the secretariat take into account the commitment to human rights in the constitution, and “not apply any penalty” in the case.

The general secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico, Ramón Castro, made two tweets several days after the decision that were perceived as a response to the ruling.

On the Feast of Christ the King, November 21, Castro tweeted, “We are very attentive, because we must defend the Truth of the Reign of God. Today they want to silence us for defending that Truth. Let us be truthful and coherent, and let us live in the liberty of the Gospel.”

Castro also tweeted a famous photo of the Cristeros, who fought to defend the liberty of the Catholic Church in the 1920s, with the word, “LET US STRUGGLE” superimposed over it, and a quote from a famous Cristero song, “The soldiers are prepared, they enlist to fight. They have become soldiers to defend the truth,” followed by the statement “LET US ALWAYS STUGGLE FOR THE TRUTH, the real truth, not what they sell as the truth, that they impose as true.”

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  1. The fundamental problem is the 1917 constitution itself, which was imposed on the Mexican people without their genuine consent. After Calles was forced out, the government quietly agreed not to strictly enforce the anti-clerical provisions, allowing life in Mexico to return to some semblance of normality. Now that the state has decided to get serious about those wretched excuses for laws, the stage has been set for another Cristero war.

  2. In “A Man for All Seasons,” the Duke of Norfolk to the targeted Thomas More: “Man, you’re ill. This isn’t Spain, you know. This is England.”

  3. This is the type of evangelization and leadership that grows the church. All they are doing is giving witness to the truth in a courageous way. No synod required for such basic things. This gives me more hope than they probably realize.

    • Andrew, “no Synod required” should be a T Shirt Slogan on the back of our Amazon sweatshirts “Go team Vigano” ! (Yes, I AM wearing one…! Very warm and comforting!)

  4. We sometimes forget that Mexico was a communist country not that long ago (read Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory) and that, despite the popular perception of Mexico as a Catholic country, there is no free exercise of the Catholic or any other religion there. This article is an excellent reminder of things we Americans easily forget.

    • The same is true in Canada. You cannot oppose LGBT, abortion or euthanasia as that would be hate speech and it illegal to voice it.

  5. As far as I am concerned, the Catholic Church should have advised a revolution in 1917 after the unjust constitution was passed. As hindsight is 20/20, it is apparent that any violation of the rights of the true Catholic Church impedes her mission and indirectly causes harm to a nation.

    1. In 1961, when Medicare was being debated in Congress, Ronald Reagan produced and sold a 33+1⁄3 rpm LP record titled “Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine.” (Reagan explicitly says Medicare will impose Socialism on the USA; you can listen to the audio on the YouTube.) Many on the right in the USA condemned and still condemn Obamacare for being “Marxist” and for imposing “Communism” and “Socialism” on the American People.

    2. From just a little web research, it seems that the MORENO party of Mexico is not a Marxist or Communist party.

    3. And so, the claims by these bishops that the MORENO party is a Communist or Marxist party seem to be false. (Even so, these bishops should have the Freedom of Speech to make such false statements. The solution to misleading political discourse is robust debate and general Free Speech, not gov’t censorship or repression.)

    4. Not every program for Social Justice is Communism or Marxism, though some on the Right say so. (Just as every initiative of Conservatives is not “Fascism,” though some on the Left say so.)

    5. In 1931, Pope Pius XI published an encyclical titled “On Reconstruction of the Social Order.” This encyclical calls for national governments to institute prudent and judicious changes in the economic system in order to create greater Social Justice for workers by imposing certain just and fair restrictions on laissez faire Capitalism, while, at the same time, condemning the elimination of private property rights and elimination of free market economics as found in Communism. That’s what “Reconstruction” means in the title of that encyclical. It means change, with much of that change being imposed on businesses by gov’t.

    6. Some Catholics, even some bishops, think that because the Catholic Church condemns Communism that it also condemns all government-imposed restrictions on laissez faire Capitalism, restrictions that have the goal of creating greater well-being and Social Justice (understood in the Catholic sense, not the Left-Wing sense) for people who can’t live off of capital investments and must support themselves and their families by work.

    7. Thank God that the new Conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court will use the judicial interpretation doctrines of Originalism and Strict Constructivism to eliminate the federal abortion rights invented and imposed by Roe vs. Wade. But many don’t yet realize that the new Conservative majority on the Supreme Court will also use the judicial interpretation doctrines of Originalism and Strict Constructivism to rule that federal programs like Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional.

    8. The number one thing that makes Mexico a horrible place to live is that most of its state governments, local police, and local judges are controlled by the Drug Cartel Criminal Gangs. There is no rule of law. The local police and judges are under the control of gangsters. The national government of Mexico is weak and ineffectual. The gangsters can murder or rape anyone at any time and get away with it. The threat of gang violence is always there. The only security a Mexican can find is by allying himself and his family with the dominant criminal gang in the Mexican state where they live. In other words, a devout Catholic in Mexico must, in order to survive, endorse and support wicked gangsters who engage in super-evil criminal activity! Where’s the religious liberty in that?

    • Erratum: “MORENA” is the name of the Mexican political party mentioned in the article, not “MORENO” as I wrote above. According to one website: “The name is an acronym for the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (National Regeneration Movement),and means brown-skinned in Spanish. It also alludes to Mexico’s Catholic national patroness: the Virgin of Guadalupe, known as ‘La Morena’.”

    • Gus buddy. How about we make this very basic. The clerics are being threatened by theMexican governments thought police for teaching basic Catholic beliefs such as killing babies either before or after birth is morally wrong. Your wheeze into fears of elimination of American safety net legislation is complete nonsense and a red herring. The current Mexican government is Socialist, openly. The safety nets here in the US that you are attempting to create fear that these will be abolished are in no danger except to run out of funding. Please don’t be silly and stop trying to create fear in support of your personal political views. This is about a government attempting to silence people of faith and the say they have no right to a faith in God because that government is atheist.

    I wish the theologians and writers at Catholic World Report would provide Catholics with a concise, faithful, practical explication of Catholic Social Teaching (CST).
    –What exactly does CST forbid?
    –What exactly does CST permit?
    –What exactly does CST recommend?
    –What is the difference between the “Social Justice” that has been promoted in papal CST documents for over a hundred years, and the “Social Justice” that is promoted by today’s Leftists in the USA. What are the similarities and commonalities, if any?
    –Does CST approve of Social Justice initiatives enacted and enforced as law by the government?
    –Are Catholics morally obligated at Catholics to accept or endorse the principles of CST?
    –Is CST fully compatible with the Conservative political philosophy as it exists in the USA?
    –Is CST compatible with the form of government such as existed in Spain under Franco from the 1930s to the 1970s?
    –Is CST compatible with the system of Feudalism that existed for many centuries in Europe?
    –Is Catholic Pro-life Doctrine a part of CST, or CST a part of Pro-Life doctrine? Or are these two bodies of doctrine in some sense independent of each other?
    –What is meant by “preferential option for the poor”? What are the logical implications of that slogan?
    –Is there really any hope that CST will catch on and guide the USA and the world to a condition of lasting peace and well-being for all? Or is that just a pipe dream of fantasists?

    • Speaking theologically, yours is one helleva question! Let me give it a shot…
      The long answer is the 2006 Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching:

      But, you ask for a short answer. I humbly offer the following at least shorter answer:

      FIRST, the CST centers on the transcendent dignity of the human person, rather than anything else. CST is the negation of ideology, rather than a new flavor. CST is based on moral theology, rather than not (e.g., social science and statistics). CST affirms moral absolutes, rather than not (see #4, below). In all else CST calls upon prudential judgment (your “recommend/permit”), but also courage, temperance and justice (the moral virtues), rather than some slogan or other (your “preferential option” question).

      SECOND, I propose a sort of heliocentric CST universe. At the center, again is the inviolable reality of the human person oriented toward God. In my imagination the orbits come in mutually correcting complementary pairs, rather than a checklist. That is:

      (1) the transcendent dignity of each human person and the family, always together; (2) wider solidarity (your “Conservative” question) and subsidiarity (your “social justice” question), always together; (3) rights and responsibilities, always together; (4) informed conscience (see #4, below) and faithful citizenship, always together; (5) the option for the poor and the dignity of work, always together; (6) and sustainable care for God’s creation and solidarity/subsidiarity, always together. (We might note that in past years the convenient USCCB crib sheet on CST unwittingly omitted subsidiarity…)
      THIRD, regarding your question on “forms of government,” despite its past history the Church now remains distant, so long as the common good is served. Regarding your question on the “preferential option for the poor”, recent popes have noted that there are different kinds of poverty, including the unmet right of the faithful to hear to full truth in its completeness and purity (e.g., Veritatis Splendor). All told, CST is perhaps the only guide that is NOT “a pipe dream of fantasists” (again, not an ideology).
      FOURTH, regarding moral absolutes (your “binding” question), and the Scriptural prohibition (Rom 3:8) that intrinsic evil may not be done even if good might come if it (such as your “Pro-Life” question), we can turn to both the recent Catechism and to the earlier documents of Vatican II:

      The Catechism and the Magisterium (nn. 2033-5) identify intrinsically evil acts which are immoral under all circumstances and non-negotiable. These include: intentional killing of the innocent (n. 2273), infanticide (n. 2268), abortion (n. 2273), euthanasia (n. 2277); and sexual immorality (nn. 2352, 2353, 2356, 2357, 2370, 2380, 2381).

      And, from the Second Vatican Council (Gaudium et Spes), this:

      “Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraced working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator” (n. 27).

      “Contemplating this melancholy state of humanity, the Council wishes to recall first of all the permanent binding force of universal natural law and its all-embracing principles. Man’s conscience itself gives ever more emphatic voice to these principles. Therefore, actions which deliberately conflict with these same principles, as well as orders commanding such actions, are criminal. Blind obedience cannot excuse those who yield to them” (n. 79).

        • P is Peter D. Beaulieu–I hit the wrong key! I read Rerum Novarum on my own in (a secular) high school. Was fascinated that the Catholic Faith and Church had something central to say about this big thing called “history.” Over the years a Jesuit friend prompted me to read more. I eventually distilled things in my own mind as shown here.

          I am rewarded that it works for you, and maybe others. Yours were good questions, unvarnished and to the point. It’s all about the mystery of the fully human person (singularly and in community) within/above the so-called “arc of history,” especially when jerked around by one rootless mindset or ideology or another.

    • CST is a pile of steaming you-know-what, and a departure from the gospel. It should be ignored by all believing Christians, Catholic or otherwise. The church does not exist to make the world a better place.

  8. This (and worse) is the consequence of being a faithful Christian/Catholic in the world, now and from the beginning, from east to west and from north to south. Not an aberration. The norm.

  9. On the official website of MORENA, the Mexican political party that the Catholic bishops were quoted as criticizing for being Marxist and Communist, I found a “Declaration of Principles of MORENA.”

    In that Declaration, I didn’t find anything that sounded like Marxism or Communism.

    Of course, such statements can be dishonest and serve as covers for hidden motives or goals.

    Nevertheless, here are few statements in the MORENA party’s Declaration of Principles, as translated from Spanish:

    “The changes that we propose are carried out and will be carried out by obligating ourselves to observe the Constitution and the national laws.”

    “We speak out for conducting our activities by peaceful means and by democratic means.”

    “Our Party is an open, plural and inclusive space, in which participate Mexicans of all social classes and diverse currents of thought, religions and cultures.”

    “The neoliberal model imposed in the last 30 years has only benefited a minority at the cost of the poverty of the majority of Mexicans. The economy is in the hands of the monopolies; the productive infrastructure is destroyed; there are millions of young people without study or work opportunities; farms are abandoned; and thousands of migrants cross the northern border every day, despite the risks and persecution.”

    “In today’s Mexico, political and institutional life is marked by corruption, pretense, and authoritarianism. Despite this, millions of Mexicans work honestly and hard every day, practice solidarity and they organize to end this outdated regime.”

    “Our individual and collective action is based on principles of honesty, patriotism and recognition of differences to forge a new way of doing public work, away from vices and corruption of the political practices of the current political, cultural and economic system.”

    “We are against all forms of imposition and authoritarianism and any act that intends to usurp the free will of the people of Mexico.”

    • Any government that chooses to arrest priests and suppress the religious moral teachings of any church or religion which “happen” to oppose that of the government is by definition a socialist or Communist philosophy. It doesnt matter what they call themselves. This is very much like the defense of woke and CRT propaganda being pushed in US schools right now. If you are automatically called a racist because you are white and a victim because you are of color, there it is. You can call it balloon flying, but it is CRT. So when administrators say we don’t teach CRT, because they call it something else, they are lying. The essence of religion is the moral pronouncements which are sincerely held part of that belief. In the case of the Catholic church these belief on sexual morality, abortion, transgender, etc, have been held for thousands of years. For a government to suddenly decide you are a law breaker, racist or a threat for continuing to oppose the approval of clearly immoral actions and policies is self serving and nothing more than a political ploy to seize full power. In all communist states, all that is permitted is decided by the government and no opposition is tolerated. Suppression of free speech in the media and on the internet, we are now seeing here in the US. This is creeping into the US even as we speak and American Catholics with a brain in their heads would do well to see it for what it is and oppose it with every bone in their bodies. Underground Masses are not far away in my opinion, when the moral teachings of a church are derided as hate speech and persecuted. . Anyone who votes for leftist politicians have blood on their hands and one day will be held accountable by God for giving these partisan dictators support. Today its Mexico arresting churchmen using trumped up charges. Yesterday it was Australia. Tomorrow the US. Speak up before you are forbidden to speak at all.

      • I see downsides to the philosophy that there are only two ways of being in the world: You are either a Conservative (and as such a good guy) or you are a Communist (and as such a bad guy).

        Painting the world that way is a powerful political device. It certainly helps build up the Conservative side, by getting moderates “off the fence.”

        But the downside is that it overlooks the fact that Conservatives can sin, too, and can be bad guys, too.

        In 2003, Pope John Paul II condemned the planned invasion of Iraq by the U.S and the U.K. He said it was an unjust war according to Catholic Just War teaching. And yet, most Conservatives (and most Liberals, too) backed that invasion.

        During the U.S. involvement in the First World War, in 1918, Americans were arrested, charged, convicted, and imprisoned for simply speaking publicly against the U.S. involvement in that war. So, what Mexico is now doing to these Catholic bishops is something that has been done in the U.S., though “two wrongs do not make a right.”

        The bishops in Mexico, who were telling voters how to vote in elections, and who were alleging that one political party was aiming to set up a Communist dictatorship, should have never been arrested or charged with any crime.

        Like all human beings, these bishops, as citizens, have a God-given right or natural right to voice their political opinions, and no civil government should punish any citizen for such activity. (I do think it is possible that these bishops have violated the Church’s canon law provisions against priests engaging in strident partisan political activity and perhaps should be disciplined by the Church.)

        The main problem with the strict dichotomy of “you’re either a Conservative or you’re a Communist” approach to politics is that requires that Catholics abandon, reject, or ignore Catholic Social Teaching.

        Catholic Social Teaching, going back to Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XI, has always taught that that it is moral, and sometimes necessary, for governments to intervene in the economy and institute prudent and judicious limits on laissez faire Capitalism in order to promote well-being and social justice for workers.

        Conservativism however forbids such gov’t intervention in economic matters, and views it as always being immoral, Marxist, and Communistic.

        In the world of Conservatism, the term “Social Justice” means the same thing as Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and Satanism.

        Yet, the official Catholic Church documents pertaining to Catholic Social Teaching constantly use the term “Social Justice” and urges its acceptance as a basic principle of Catholic moral teaching.

        For these reasons, I do not wish to be either a Conservative or a Communist.

        I will readily admit that I’d rather live in a nation ruled by Conservatives than one ruled by Communists.

        Yes, Conservatism is better than Communism.

        It’s just that Conservatism is not the best that God has for us, is not what God ultimately wants for us. God’s will for us is expressed in the plan for civilization found in Catholic teaching.

  10. Gus, these things get complicated. Let me throw a couple of significant details into this discussion…

    First, who divided the world into Conservatives or Communists? Understand that the CST is not a middling compromise or “third way.” Instead, as John Paul II clarifies in Centesimus Annus, CST is based on principles of moral theology (but I repeat myself).

    Second, Pope John Paul II saw the invasion of Iraq as an unjust war, but WHY did he conclude this, and was his conclusion a prudential judgment–capable of debate–rather than a doctrinal definition?

    Third, in an earlier war, Poland resisted the Nazi invasion although they had absolutely no chance of success (a violation of a just war theory principle). And, yet, in his “Memory and Identity” John Paul II defends this resistance because what was at stake was the very meaning of civilization itself.

    Fourth, back to Iraq in 2003. If it was unjust, my feeling (debatable!) is that the error lay in not only removing abuses, but of gratuitous and ideological “nation building.” To set this ideology as an integral goal for relations with the Muslim world is to completely fail to understand the nature of Islam.

    Fifth, would the Iraq War of 2003 have been judged if it had succeeded on a timeline that would not allow sectarian strife to take over? This brings us to another of the moving pieces…the military strategy involved a pincer movement, simultaneous, from both the south and the north (the north over Turkish airspace). The week before the landing the Muslim/sectarian Turkey withdrew permission for the flyover. The momentum to invade from the south, severely crippled but with a “can do” attitude–and with the very protracted and festering outcome–illustrates the disconnect in basing such strategies on a foundation of Islamic cooperation. (Of course, the Western states are also factional, having given unanimous support [15-0] for the U.S. to do all the heavy lifting.) Previous U.N. threats, none of them real, induced Iraq to non-cooperation since they knew the West was as factional as they are and expected nothing to happen.

    Sixth, we now hear President Biden threatening reprisals against Russia if they invade the Ukraine, but conditioned on the premise that we will not act alone. So, where is the West in all this? What is just and what is unjust? Dejas vu. Thinking domestic party politics, past decades would not weigh us down so much if “social justice,” which you mention, had not consisted of solidarity stripped of subsidiarity (complementarity, my previous entry), such that the slogan became a code word for unilateral federal government action, client-base building, entitlements, and paper-money politics linked to a national debt problem toxic to both parties.

    Just some details, as a reminder that civil discourse of significant details is part of the CST (informed conscience and faithful citizenship).

    • I thank Peter D. Beaulieu for his comment.

      Peter D. Beaulieu asked: “First, who divided the world into Conservatives or Communists?”

      Well, I can only offer that I believe I’ve heard many Conservative activists say, in essence, that there are only two kinds of people in the world; that a person is either a Conservative, or a person is, knowingly or unknowingly, under the sway of “cultural Marxism.” For example, I think the popular Conservative activist Dr. Jordan Peterson has said that.

      I’m certainly not saying that all Conservatives think or speak in terms of this dichotomy.

      Also, Peter D. Beaulieu writes: “Understand that the CST is not a middling compromise or ‘third way’.”

      Well, but haven’t some people taken Catholic Social Teaching and made it the basis for the a “third way” movement in politics?

      Isn’t that what the Distributism movement is, as originally led by G.K. Chesterton and others?

      Isn’t that what the Centre Party of Germany was in its heyday (prior to 1933)?

      Isn’t that what the American Solidarity Party is?

      If Catholic Social Teaching is to have any meaning in real life, doesn’t it have to come into play in actual political movements and parties, rather than just being lofty ideas in books and theology classes?

      Since, in the U.S., in my judgment, neither of the two main political movements (Conservatism and Liberalism) embrace Catholic Social Teaching, Catholic Pro-Life Teaching, Catholic Death Penalty Teaching, and Catholic Just War Teaching, isn’t there an opportunity for and need for a “third way” in politics, so that Catholics, who accept and strive to apply all of these teachings, don’t have to compromise their Catholicism in order to participate in politics?

      (I regret that some of what I wrote above has a “polemical” feel to it, in that it assumes conclusions that some reasonable people will not agree with. It’s hard to discuss such matters as these in a brief context. I myself am not a fan of questions with built in biases [the “loaded question”], and yet here I am doing just that, arguably.)

    Could somebody (perhaps a theologian or writer of Catholic World Report) explain the concept of “social justice” as found in authoritative Church documents?

    How does Catholic magisterium’s concept of “social justice” different from the concept of “social justice” as discussed by people involved with Black Lives Matter, democratic socialism, the Green Party, etc.?

    What, if anything, does the Catholic concept of “social justice” have in common with the use that term by various non-Catholics?

    How does the Catholic conception of “social justice” relate to the Catholic conception of:
    –Religious liberty
    –The right to life of unborn children
    –Morality of capital punishment
    –Divine judgment

  12. A world wide persecution of the Church is well underway. Things will get much worse with socialism/communism taking over more of the world, as George Soros and his cronies push their New World Order agenda. Religion is not compatible with socialism. or communism.

  13. Re: Mexican cardinals and bishops convicted for denouncing pro-abortion, socialist government

    Blood Drenched Altars
    Mexican Martyrdom
    No God Next Door

    We Are Warned, E. A. Bucchanieri, free online PDF. The Chastisement will eliminate 3/4 of Humanity. All of the Wicked and some of the Good Will. pg362, 412


    Fatima 100yrs almost up.
    We must obey God, rather than men.

  14. Catholic Social Justice is contained in the great commandment — love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and mind and soul, and thy neighbour as thyself. If this was manifested in every person there would be harmony and goodness throughout humankind. Simple. Just not easy

11 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Meksički kardinali i biskupi osuđeni zbog kritike socijalističke vlade – Župa sv. Ante – Komin
  2. Tribunal convicts Mexico City cardinal, ex-cardinal of Guadalajara - California Catholic Daily
  3. The War on Religion Heats Up | Be John Galt
  4. Anti-Catholic Bigotry in Mexico – Ruth Institute
  6. These Mexican Cardinals Are in Trouble for Telling Catholics to Pray — Let’s Support Them - JP2 Catholic Radio
  7. Communist Mexico: Two Mexican cardinals, a bishop and three priests were found guilty of violating the Mexican constitution for urging Catholics to pray for guidance before voting.  | Newsessentials Blog
  8. These Mexican Cardinals Are in Trouble for Telling Catholics to Pray — Let’s Support Them – Ruth Institute
  9. Mexican Pastors Face Prison for Urging Prayer - The Stream
  10. Mexican Cardinals in Trouble for Telling Catholics to Pray – Ruth Institute
  11. Mexican court upholds conviction of cardinal, priest for ‘inciting’ people to elect new gov’t leadership - Gospel News Network

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